What do you do when your car gives up in the middle of the deep forest and there is no cell phone reception? Or you get lost or separated from your hiking or camping group. Now the survivalist in you is in demand.
Maybe you will get lucky and get rescued quickly, maybe you will have to use your survival skills to create your luck.
In the wilderness
It doesn’t have to be such a nightmare. All it takes is a car breakdown in the forest and no cell phone reception. Or a solo hike where you crack your foot. Suddenly you are all alone, no one far and wide who can help. What has to be done now? Nine tips for surviving in the wild:
The most important thing: Find a source of water. Water can be taken from flowing or standing water. The further you are from civilization, the less likely it is to be polluted. Coldwater is always preferable because warm water is the perfect breeding ground for germs.
To be on the safe side: Clean the water with the help of a self-made water filter. How does it work? Simply put a piece of cloth, coal, sand, gravel, and moss in a container (such as a cut-off plastic bottle) and run water through it several times until the materials are cleaned.
First of all, the place for the night’s sleep should be dry. Otherwise, you will cool down too quickly in cold weather. In summer, the damp subsoil attracts myriads of mosquitoes.
A leaf hut made of dead branches and twigs can be built quickly. Alternatively, you can lie down in a hollow covered with fir branches and cover yourself with leaves like a sleeping bag.
Even better is a rock niche or small cave where you are protected from rain and annoying insects.
Any fuel that catches fire quickly is suitable as tinder-dry wood, needles, pine cones, bark, wood flour, bird feathers. Hardwood burns longer, moist wood keeps insects away. It’s best to mix both.
If you don’t have a lighter at hand, you can try the classic boy scout way with the help of a fire drill (a wooden stick is quickly drilled into a flat piece of wood with the palms of the hands to create glowing wood dust from the frictional heat) or stones – preferably flint and pyrite rock, which is very common and has a high sulfur content.
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If you get stranded in local forests, you don’t have to worry about food. Nature’s table is richly set: Pine needles and blossoms are vitamin C bombs. Hazelnuts, beechnuts, and sweet chestnuts are also healthy.
Dandelion and reed roots contain a lot of starch. Raspberries, blackberries, and rose hips complete the menu. Ants, grasshoppers, larvae, snails, and earthworms provide the necessary protein.
Nature has its noises which – if you don’t know them – can be unsettling. As a general rule, behave calmly when you encounter wild animals such as wild boars. Do not panic, take hold of sticks and stones, or suddenly run away.
You can get lost even in a grove. So, look for a distant landmark that you can approach and keep in the desired direction. Landmarks such as rivers, streams, forest borders, hills, mountains, and depressions help with orientation.
Keep your mind sharp
Remember when walking in this state your mind can play tricks on you. For example, many people have said they see stairs in the woods, one can argue it’s the mind playing tricks or there may be more to it, but what matters is you cannot let your sense go and have to stay on course. Travelers may see random staircases in the woods and these are among one of the mysteries in the world of traveling.
Anyone who is halfway skilled in their craft can make a spear, hammer, and walking stick. The art of bow-making is something for advanced learners.
Not everyone is a survivalist. But even as untrained you can survive in nature. You only have to know-how.